ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — A big effort has begun to get homebound individuals in Monroe County vaccinated against COVID-19.
Dr. Alice Loveys, the Finger Lakes COVID-19 Vaccine Hub Homebound Lead, says they estimate there’s around 1,000 homebound individuals in the area.
The plan is to start vaccinating those individuals starting May 1. Dr. Loveys says preparation has been a big team effort.
“We have a team of vaccinators, we’re actually going to utilize our emergency medical services community paramedics program, and some other home nurse contractors,” Dr. Loveys said.
Right now, groups are working to compile a list of people who are homebound and want the vaccine. If you’re interested, you’re encouraged to call your primary care provider or home health agency. You can also call LifeSpan to get on a list.
“What Lifespan is doing is trying to collect all the information for the homebound. Their names, their addresses, their phone numbers, so we can collect that data, work with the vacation hub, and make sure we create a plan so we can get out there and make sure people get the vaccine,” said Ann Marie Cook, the President and CEO of Lifespan.
Health experts were hoping to use the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for homebound visits because it’s a single dose shot. “We have to wait and see what the federal government recommend for the J&J vaccine and they are hoping to have some news by the end of the week,” Dr. Lovey explained.
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccine would require a little extra planning.
“The Pfizer and Moderna, it’s more complicated as we all know, because of the extreme temperatures they need to be put in, so a route and a plan need to be established tightly so that no vaccine is wasted,” Cook said.
“We work really closely with the county pharamacist on what’s the exact process for maintaining temperatures, mixing and drawing up the vaccines, because some of them, once you draw them up, they’re quite fragile as well,” Dr. Loveys said.
For individuals vaccinated at home, someone from the hospital would stay with them to make sure there are no immediate side effects.
“Most people have to observed for 15 minutes, but we’re planning on 30 minutes because they can be complex medical patients,” Dr. Loveys said. “They might need more time, but we budgeted for that.”
Although homebound individuals may get out less, meaning less exposure, but doctors say it’s still important to get vaccinated.
“The homebound individuals may have caseworkers coming in, they certainly have family members coming in, and are probably more fragile health-wise,” Cook explained. “The important thing is to make sure everyone in our community has access to the vaccine, whether they can go to a clinic or they are homebound.”
If you’re someone who needs help with transportation to a vaccine appointment, Lifespan says you can contact them for assistance. They can be reached at: (585) 244-8400.